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Bosu Ball Step-ups: How To, Benefits,…

There are many different ways to improve your current exercise routine. What about doing Bosu Ball step-ups, what will the effects be?

Bosu Ball step-ups are a variation of step-ups where you do the exercise by stepping on a Bosu Ball instead of any other elevated surface. You can describe the Bosu Ball as the top of a stability ball attached to a flat surface.

By using the Bosu Ball instead of a sturdy surface the exercise focuses more on your ankle muscles and balance and slightly more on your core muscles.

Additionally, the extra weights you can use will not be as heavy as regular step-ups.

Resistance training beginners may still be able to build some leg muscle with Bosu Ball step-ups but if that is your main goal, you want to stick to the regular version.

Whether you should Bosu Ball step-ups or alternatives to your routine ultimately depends on things like your personal situation, personal preference, and training goals.

How to do a Bosu Ball step-up

As the name implies, to do Bosu Ball step-ups you need a good Bosu Ball. Once you have that, to do a Bosu Ball step-up take the following steps:

  1. Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground. Stand upright in front of the ball facing toward it.
  2. Raise one foot and put it on the Bosu Ball. Make sure your sole is entirely on the surface but a bit on the side so you can stand in a balanced way in the next steps.
  3. Raise your body by exerting pressure with the leg of the foot that is on the Bosu Ball. Make sure the upper leg is doing most, preferably all, of the lifting.
  4. Put your second foot next to the other one.
  5. Step down with the first foot.
  6. Step down with the second foot.
  7. Do a repetition with the other foot first.
How to do a Bosu Ball step-up

Make sure to do the same number of repetitions with each leg first to keep your muscle distribution and balance skills symmetrical. Additionally, you can hold something study or ask for help from a workout partner for balance if needed.

To make Bosu Ball step-ups harder for your muscles and balance you can also hold weights or wear a weighted vest.

Another option to switch things up is to do side-to-side step-ups. These will be a bit more challenging for your inner thigh muscles, outer thigh muscles, ankle muscles, balance, and coordination.

Bosu Ball step-ups muscles worked

Bosu Ball step-ups mainly work your ankle, quadricep, glute, hamstring, inner thigh, outer thigh, and calf muscles. Additionally, your core muscles will have to work a small amount too.

Compared to step-ups with a sturdy elevated surface, the Bosu Ball version focuses more on your ankle muscles and you engage your core muscles a tiny amount more due to the unstable surface.

The main downside of Bosu Ball step-ups is that you can use a lot less extra weight because of the balance challenge. To build muscle in places like your legs you have to engage these muscles so that they get damaged enough.

This may sound counterintuitive but this damaging makes it so your body repairs these muscles, and adds a bit more to be better prepared to exert similar efforts in the future.

If you stick to exercises with the same weight, as your muscles become stronger this same effort may not damage your muscles enough to promote extra muscle growth.

By being able to use less weight because of the Bosu Ball, it becomes harder to grow and strengthen your leg muscles with step-ups.

You can still use weights and possibly build leg muscle with Bosu Ball step-ups but there are more effective exercises for this specific goal.

Depending on your personal situation, workout plan, and training goals, Bosu Ball step-ups may be a good or bad addition.

If you do decide to do weighted Bosu Ball step-ups you want to keep the Bosu Ball weight limits in mind. The standard “Original” at-home option from the Bosu brand has a 300 lbs weight capacity. Other models can vary.

Benefits of Bosu Ball step-ups

Bosu Ball step-ups may not be the best exercise to build muscle mass but adding this exercise to your routine can still offer you some helpful benefits. Some of the most important ones include:

  1. Stronger muscles: Bosu Ball step-ups are a type of resistance training that can help you strengthen a variety of leg muscles.
  2. Can help with losing weight: Doing Bosu Ball step-ups likely requires more energy than your regular daily activities. Extra muscle mass also helps with burning more calories. Both of these aspects can help with, but are no guarantee for, weight loss.
  3. Improves mood: Exercise like Bosu Ball step-ups promotes the release of substances that help you feel good.
  4. Balance & coordination: Balance & coordination are fitness skills that can be improved by challenging them. Bosu Ball step-ups can help you with this to some extent
  5. Improves sleep: Exercise like Bosu Ball step-ups can improve the quality and duration of your sleep which in turn offers many important benefits.
  6. May improve athletic performance: Bosu Ball step-ups can help you strengthen important leg muscles. This can lead to an improvement in sports where you benefit from fast running.
  7. Slows down aging: Bosu Ball step-ups won’t influence how many days have passed since you were born. However, exercise can slow down the progress of certain aging markers that are correlated with negative health effects.

While inevitably many workouts are better for some of these benefits than Bosu Ball step-ups, it is amazing that you can get so many important benefits from adding one activity to your routine.

Potential risks

The main thing to keep in mind is that Bosu Ball step-ups can be hard on body parts like your ankles, knees, hips, and back, even if you implement the right technique.

If you are weak or sensitive in these body parts you may need to do other strengthening exercises first. Especially if you have any ankle or knee pain, you may want to talk to your primary care provider before implementing Bosu Ball step-ups in your workout routine.

If you feel pain in any body parts it may be a sign you are overdoing it. In that case, you may need some rest, better lifestyle habits, a less intense workout schedule, or it may be a sign that Bosu Ball step-ups are not (yet) for you.

Bosu Ball step-up alternatives

While Bosu Ball step-ups can be a good addition to your workout routine, there are also some alternatives available for training similar aspects of your physical health. Some of these Bosu Ball step-up alternatives include:

  • (Bosu Ball) Squats
  • Regular step-ups
  • (Bosu Ball) Lunges
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Leg extensions

Which one of these options is the best depends on things like your personal situation, training goals, the equipment you have available, etc.

Conclusion

Many people can benefit from adding Bosu Ball step-ups with the right technique to their routine.

Mostly in terms of balance and ankle strength but this exercise could help you grow and strengthen your leg muscles to some extent. You likely need to hold extra weights during Bosu Ball step-ups to achieve this last goal.

That being said, for optimal leg muscle growth and strengthening there are better exercises than Bosu Ball step-ups.

Additionally, remember that doing Bosu Ball step-ups can be hard on body parts like your ankles, knees, hips, and back, even if you implement the right technique.

If you are weak or sensitive in these body parts you may need to do other strengthening exercises first. Especially if you have any ankle or knee pain, you may want to talk to your primary care provider before doing more Bosu Ball step-ups.

Also keep in mind that consistency is an important factor for any workout plan. The more you love the exercise you do the easier it becomes to do it consistently. If doing Bosu Ball step-ups is a workout you love, great.

If not, step-up alternatives and other exercises can also offer a lot of benefits.

If you do decide to implement more Bosu Ball step-ups make sure you give your body enough nutrients, rest, and sleep to repair and grow your muscles.

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Matt Claes

Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.

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